HOUGHTON, Mich. — Jordan Leopold’s power-play goal with 1:09 left in regulation capped a four-goal comeback as Minnesota salvaged a 5-5 tie against Michigan Tech at MacInnes Arena on Saturday night.
The Golden Gophers (6-0-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) trailed 4-0 and 5-1 before mounting their rally.
“Our guys never gave up,” said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. “They competed and worked right until the end. When you’re down 4-0 on the road … to come back and get a point is big.”
Michigan Tech had a chance to win in overtime after the Gophers’ Jeff Taffe was assessed a slashing penalty, but couldn’t capitalize.
“I was disappointed with Jeff at the end in overtime,” said Lucia. “At times we lost our focus tonight and guys got frustrated.”
Leopold had a goal and two assists for Minnesota, while John Pohl scored a goal and added an assist.
Freshman Bryan Perez had a hat trick for Michigan Tech (2-3-1, 0-3-1) and freshman defenseman Clay Wilson scored twice. Cam Ellsworth made 36 saves in his first collegiate start.
“Every game teaches you a little something different,” said Tech head coach Mike Sertich. “Tonight and last night it was how to play with a lead.”
The Huskies got the home crowd into the game early, reeling off four first-period goals and chasing Gophers’ freshman netminder Travis Weber.
“Travis wasn’t on tonight,” said Lucia. “We didn’t give him much help, either.”
But Adam Hauser came in and stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced to give his team the stability it needed to fight back.
Wilson made it 1-0 at 6:29 when his shot from the left point eluded Weber. The Huskies made it 2-0 at the 7:50 mark when a streaking Perez redirected Brady Greco’s pass from the boards through Weber’s legs.
Wilson netted his second goal at 15:40 when he finished an outstanding individual effort by beating Weber to the far side from in close.
With Minnesota’s Mark Nenovich off for interference, Tech took a 4-0 lead when Perez beat Weber with a wrister at 17:05.
The Gophers finally got on the board when Grant Potulny tipped in a shot by Leopold just seven seconds after the Huskies’ Justin Brown had gone off for holding.
Perez completed the hat trick 1:28 into the second period during a delayed penalty.
Troy Riddle made it 5-2 at the 8:11 mark when he flew up the right side and beat Ellsworth with a low shot to the far side.
Freshman Jake Fleming scored his first collegiate goal while the Gophers were shorthanded to cut the margin to 5-3 at 15:29 of the period.
Pohl pulled Minnesota to within a goal when he scored on the power play 8:04 into the third period. Despite being a man short, the Huskies still got caught back, allowing Pohl to fly up the right side and tuck a nice shot over Ellsworth’s shoulder and just under the crossbar.
“Tech came out and played an extremely good game tonight,” said Lucia. “They played a lot tighter and physical. They played the way they wanted to play. This is a tough league and you have to work hard every night.”
Said Michigan Tech senior center Brad Patterson: “As a team we thought we had them on the ropes most of the weekend, except for 10 minutes yesterday and five minutes tonight. It’s disappointing to get a tie, but we know that they’re the best team in the nation and we can play with anyone.”